Bring it on Brother Lewie


Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD gets to grips with baby Brother Lewie

I’ve always had a “fancy cat” in my life, be it a Siamese, Burmese or Oriental, who was part of my happy mix of “just plain moggies”. But, by the beginning of 2014, all my beloved golden oldie cats had passed on. I felt very blessed that they’d all made it – or as close as dammit – to the ripe old age of 18 years… but oh, how I missed them in my life.

Buying was, of course, not an option so I put the word out that I really would love to adopt a Siamese (or wannabe-Siamese) and my friends in rescue kindly kept their eyes peeled for me. The day I got the “heads-up” from Marizanne Ferreira in Port Elizabeth that a litter and their mum had been rescued from an abandoned building site by Animal Welfare Society, PE, was possibly the most exciting day EVER!

It did take a few impromptu (and totally heartfelt) tears to convince The Dad that I really, REALLY wanted – and needed – them… and, two days later, we were off to the airport to collect our new babies, Arty Cat and brother Lewie.

It was simply wonderful to have kittens in the cottage, Sheba was very keen on getting to know them better and Sammy was all too busy dragging all her possessions around the cottage and away from them (she can be mean like that).

Brother Lewie and the sneaky wee                                                                                                                      

But, a few days later, we noticed that something just wasn’t right with brother Lewie and we headed to the vet; a bladder infection was suspected and I was sent home with strict instructions to return later… WITH a wee sample. Oh boy.

Feeling VERY anxious, I came home, dutifully emptied the sandbox and gave the boys firm instructions that they had to watch to see when Lewie made a wee. I spent the day with my heart in my throat, checking periodically (this aside from a very hectic work day) to see if he had done his thing. Nope, both of them had spent the day lolling in their warm toasty bed next to the heater. The clock ticked by and still nothing. On my 50th check-in later that afternoon, I asked: “So no wee yet?” “Nah!” go both boys in unison and in a distracted (by computers) manner. I casually peer into the non-sand sandbox and what do I see? A WEE! Grrr. Of course, no one can believe that someone made a sneaky wee… sheepish looks all around.

Based on the fact that only Lewie was in the bedroom at the time, I syringed it up and headed back to the vet – in peak-hour traffic (thanks, guys!). Turns out that, yes, it was Lewie’s – and, yes, he did have a Urinary Tract Infection. I was sent home again, this time with a bagful of medicine. Now he just needed to take his meds and get better. And that, as anyone who’s ever tried to give pills to a cat will know, is where things came off the rails…

A bitter pill (to get down a cat’s throat)

Tablet time rolled around and I wasn’t too concerned – surely giving an itty-bitty tablet to a teeny-tiny kitten wouldn’t be that difficult. Sure! So, as if I was dispensing sweeties, I tried to pop it into his mouth – easy-peasy, right? Wrong. So very, very wrong.

There was a flurry of activity, the flash of needle-like fangs, a searing pain and I was left with blood pulsating out of my Peter Pointer finger. It was like a horror movie! Lewie sprinted in one direction, skidding around the corner like a bat out of hell, while I slowly bled out in the other. It felt like I had stapled my finger – I had a puncture wound top and bottom and it throbbed like hell. 

Feeling mortally wounded but decidedly focused, I crushed the tablet, popped it into a tasty morsel of food and offered it in my most loving voice to FFF (Feisty Fang Face). His sapphire eyes sparkled prettily and he happily waltzed up to it, took a big “Bisto-Kids” sniff – and bolted. Holding back the tears, I resigned myself to the fact that I was already one dose short of a course and, taking a deep breath and willing myself to “be brave”, I decided to try the next piece crushed into water. 

Gingerly and while repeating calming mantras, I swiftly bundled the little hellion up in a towel and promptly syringed the meds in… YAHOO! One dose down and all was forgiven and forgotten (well, mostly). Brother Lewie curled up next to the heater and left me to nurse my finger… and wonder whether I needed a tetanus shot. 

Let the chips fall where they may

A few days later and Brother Lewie had gotten all his tablets (and I was sporting a very attractive slow-healing wound from the first attempt at tablet giving). But I was still concerned about whether his condition was clearing.

As any Crazy Animal Mommy would, I was on full sandbox alert, checking it constantly to see the colour of his wee. I think he was beginning to wonder if I was a little obsessed with his ablutions (which, um, I was…). Every time he hopped into the sandbox, I would appear miraculously as if out of nowhere, hands on hips, always watching, holding my breath as he did his thing. Poor kit, he must have wished he was back on the building site with his mum and siblings rather than having to use this loo with a view (for me).

And then it happened – the moment I’d been dreading. The moment that proved that there was, indeed, something terribly wrong with Brother Lewie. With my eagle eyes I spotted a darkly coloured, almost orange, grain of cat sand. Aha! I swooped in and carefully picked it up, reverently placing it into a wee plastic container (those little take-away sauce containers really do come in handy when it comes to animal stuff) as a sample to take to the vet to be tested.

Carefully placing it on the kitchen counter so as not to forget it, I busied myself with making school and work lunches. The Dad arrives and, seeing the sample standing proudly atop the counter, asks about it. So, I proudly explain my find and say that, as soon as they are off for the day, I’ll be off to the vet to save the day for Lewie with my precious sample.

James listened intently, and then held the sample up to the light like a scientist with a test beaker. He popped open the lid and peered at it closely and then (arggghhhh – really) sniffed it – and I almost thought he was going to EAT it! Then, in his best “serious scientist” voice, he declared that I would be taking a tiny NikNak chip to the vet for testing.

WHAAAAT?!

So then Aaron got involved and concurred with his dad, much to my indignation (and his delight). Yes, he had had a packet of NikNaks the previous afternoon and, no, seemingly all my concern was not needed.

They, of course, thought it was hilarious while I would merrily have hidden away behind the sandbox itself if I could. On the plus side, I’d been saved the huge embarrassment of taking a chip to the vet! And Brother Lewie was just fine.